American Airlines adds free inflight messaging on select planes

The Points Guy logo

As of Wednesday Dec 16, American Airlines is joining JetBlue in offering free Wi-Fi for passengers traveling on flights with Viasat connectivity. With a notable catch.

JetBlue’s has always been free, with full access to the internet, including high-quality video streaming, web browsing and more. American Airlines’ free service is a bit more limited — in that you’ll only have access to Facebook Messenger, including Messenger Kids.

Sign up for the free daily TPG newsletter for more travel news

Same technology, vastly different “free” experience — you’d be forgiven for feeling a bit underwhelmed.

American Airlines is currently running a “trial” with its free messaging offering over the next four months — if all goes well, hopefully we’ll see it expanded to other services, and perhaps even full web browsing and streaming, too. For now, if you’re hoping to take advantage of this limited connectivity, you’ll need to download Facebook Messenger before your Viasat-equipped flight.

Delta also offers free messaging, but with broader support — WhatsApp and Apple’s Messages app are included, too, excluding photo, video and SMS messaging.

Video: United Launches Virtual Customer Service Platform for Passengers at the Airport (Travel + Leisure)

  • a house covered in snow

    At Elf School, You Can Eat Pancakes and Learn About Iceland's 'Hidden People'

    Travel + Leisure Logo

    Travel + Leisure

  • 8 Beautiful Puzzles to Keep You Entertained This Winter

    8 Beautiful Puzzles to Keep You Entertained This Winter

    Travel + Leisure Logo

    Travel + Leisure

  • a close up of an old building

    Disney Is No Longer Digitally Adding Face Masks to Guests on Ride Photos — Here's Why They

    Travel + Leisure Logo

    Travel + Leisure

  • map

    This Map Shows Every State's Favorite Holiday Treat

    Travel + Leisure Logo

    Travel + Leisure

  • Where U.S. Citizens Can Travel Without a Visa

    Where U.S. Citizens Can Travel Without a Visa

    Travel + Leisure Logo

    Travel + Leisure

  • a man riding skis down a snow covered slope

    Utah's Ski Resorts Have Finally Reopened — Here's Where to Stay, Eat, and Shred Safely

    Travel + Leisure Logo

    Travel + Leisure

  • Idina Menzel Is Hosting a Live Holiday Singalong on Airbnb to Help Spread Some Cheer

    Idina Menzel Is Hosting a Live Holiday Singalong on Airbnb to Help Spread Some Cheer

    Travel + Leisure Logo

    Travel + Leisure

  • a large passenger jet sitting on top of a runway

    'Goofy' Dad Goes Viral on TikTok After Buying a Pair of Delta Seats and Recreating the Flight Experience at Home

    Travel + Leisure Logo

    Travel + Leisure

  • a herd of cattle grazing on a lush green field

    The Best Time to Visit Yosemite National Park

    Travel + Leisure Logo

    Travel + Leisure

  • logo

    The Best Breathable Face Masks for Working Out

    Travel + Leisure Logo

    Travel + Leisure

  • a small boat in a large body of water

    Viking Cruises’ New Safety Protocols Include Daily COVID-19 Testing, New Filtration System

    Travel + Leisure Logo

    Travel + Leisure

  • a cake sitting on top of a table

    Hot Chocolate Bombs Are the Internet’s Latest Viral Dessert Trend — Here's Where to Order

    Travel + Leisure Logo

    Travel + Leisure

  • an open laptop computer sitting on top of a wooden table

    Expedia Is Celebrating the End of 2020 With 2-Week Getaways for $20.20 — But Reservations

    Travel + Leisure Logo

    Travel + Leisure

  • a chain link fence

    Baublebar's Collaboration With Disney Is Here — Just in Time for the Holidays

    Travel + Leisure Logo

    Travel + Leisure

  • a close up of a sign

    United Pledges to Cut Greenhouse Gases 100% by 2050

    Travel + Leisure Logo

    Travel + Leisure

  • a car parked in front of a train

    4 Boutique Trailer Hotels for Your Next Socially Distant Getaway

    Travel + Leisure Logo

    Travel + Leisure

  • a house covered in snow
    At Elf School, You Can Eat Pancakes and Learn About Iceland's 'Hidden People'
    There are several types of elves, according to Icelandic lore.

    Travel + Leisure Logo
    Travel + Leisure

  • 8 Beautiful Puzzles to Keep You Entertained This Winter
    8 Beautiful Puzzles to Keep You Entertained This Winter
    They're also great last-minute gifts.

    Travel + Leisure Logo
    Travel + Leisure

  • a close up of an old building
    Disney Is No Longer Digitally Adding Face Masks to Guests on Ride Photos — Here's Why They
    The initial rule ended up impacting guests of a different party who were wearing their masks.

    Travel + Leisure Logo
    Travel + Leisure

UP NEXT

On AA, Facebook Messenger is available on all aircraft with Viasat service, which covers roughly 80% of American Airlines’ narrow-body fleet, including many Airbus A319s and A321s, along with Boeing 737-800s and the carrier’s 737 MAX.

Full access comes along with the regular variable fee, depending on your route. Customers can also opt to purchase one of the airline’s monthly subscription plans, at $50 for one device or $60 for two. If you aren’t traveling often, be sure to suspend your service to avoid the carrier’s “hassle-free, automatic renewal.”

American Airlines fliers with T-Mobile devices may also have unlimited texting access on flights with Gogo service, which is also available on Gogo-equipped flights operated by Alaska Airlines and Delta. All T-Mobile customers may also be able to get a free hour of Wi-Fi on select Gogo flights, while subscribers get unlimited Gogo Wi-Fi with certain plans.

As with many other carriers, American also offers streaming from an onboard server, including free access to movies and TV shows from your own laptop, tablet or phone, giving you something to stay entertained on planes that don’t offer seat-back screens.

Featured photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy.

SPONSORED: With states reopening, enjoying a meal from a restaurant no longer just means curbside pickup.

And when you do spend on dining, you should use a credit card that will maximize your rewards and potentially even score special discounts. Thanks to temporary card bonuses and changes due to coronavirus, you may even be able to score a meal at your favorite restaurant for free. 

These are the best credit cards for dining out, taking out, and ordering in to maximize every meal purchase.

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Source: Read Full Article